Organic vs. Non-Organic Soil

The effect of using Organic or Non-organic Soil

Each type of dirt has a unique combination, and balancing them can help you improve the performance of the soil to ensure a productive garden.


Two Types of Soil

Both organic and non-organic soil have many benefits to offer, but to know which would be the best for your gardening could be confusing.

Soil quality is always associated with climates. Wet climate generates acidic soil, and dry climate on the other hand, produces dry and sandy soil. Climates don’t produce ideal soil. Therefore, it needs to be modified to provide soil rich in nutrients.

Many places all over the world don’t have enough ideal soil and need to amend the soil to generate organic and enrichment.

Also, the quality of soil is one of those crucial factors you must consider to make your products turn out well. Choosing the right mixture at the very start of your gardening will determine whether you’ll have a bounty harvest later on.


Organic Soil

Organic vs. Non-Organic Soil

Organic soil is a high-quality soil created through the decomposition of plants and animal manures. It is rich in minerals and microorganisms that produce nutrients to help your plants grow healthy.

Organic soil is:
  • Chemical-free.
  • Contains more nutrients and minerals compared to ordinary soil.
  • Composed of sand, clay, and silt, all in equal parts.
  • Can retain moisture and provides adequate drainage.

When preparing for planting, it is essential to amend the soil regularly. The combinations of the ingredients below will enhance deficient dirt and pack the soil with nutrients your plant needs.

  • Compost 
  • Mulch
  • Manure
  • Worm castings
  • Mushroom compost
  • Bone meal
  • Soybean meal
  • Bat droppings
  • Soft rock phosphate
  • Fish meal
  • Blood meal
  • Seaweed
  • Greensand

Here are the three common combinations used to enrich the soil:

Mulch

Mulch applied in the garden bed.

Mulch is an organic material that can be made at home using scraps, trees debris, and other plants. Many kinds of mulch vary in texture, smell, and color. It can be a decaying leaf, bark, wood chips, and many others.

Uses of Mulch:
  • It helps enrich the soil and retain its moisture.
  • It is applied to the top of the soil within the garden to contain weeds.
  • Gradually releases nutrients into the soil as it decays.
  • It keeps the soil cool around the roots.
  • It also facilitates enough drainage within the soil.
  • It becomes a very dark soil packed with nutrients as it decays completely.

Compost

Compost from the kitchen waste.

Just like mulch, compost also comprises a lot of decaying organic matter like food scraps, grass clippings, and other kitchen waste. Composting is simple and will turn ordinary dirt into fertile, organic soil.

Uses of Compost:
  • Compost increases nutrients and promotes sufficient drainage to the soil.
  • Like mulch, it decays slowly, releasing an adequate amount of nutrients.
  • Compost is acidic, and using lime can make it less acidic.
  • Compost helps balance the pH if the soil is alkaline.
  • It is also a great way to recycle and reduce waste while enhancing your garden beds.

Manure

Manure to help enrich the soil.

Manure is excrement from domestic animals. It consists of nutrients that boost and improve the quality of the soil.

Uses of Manure:
  • Manure is used to fertilize and boost nutrient-deficient soil.
  • Minerals and lots of other nutrients are strengthened due to proper break down of vegetation while under the animal’s digestive system.
  • Like mulch and compost, it also amends deficient soil by helping facilitate sufficient soil drainage, and turn clayey and sandy soil into enriched soils.

Non-Organic Soil

Non-organic soil does not contain organic nutrients. This soil type is free from contaminants while holding a neutral pH balance.

It is commonly used in hydroponics and succulents to improve soil, provide moisture, and adequate drainage.

The  most common combinations of non-organic soil:

Perlite

Perlite used for non-organic gardening.
Image by: growerexperts.com
  • Inorganic minerals commonly used in horticulture.
  • It has a spacious surface that can retain moisture.
  • It is also non-toxic with neutral pH.
  • Contaminant-free.

Expanded Clay Aggregate

Non -organic soil composed of expanded aggregate clay, perlite, and silt.

  • Consists of baked round clay pellets that don’t contain nutrients.
  • It is durable and reusable.
  • It absorbs water and nutrient solutions and releases quickly to the plants.
  • The air passage between the clay pebbles is sufficient for roots to get oxygen while preventing rotting.

Conventional Soil

Conventional soil in a person's hand

Conventional soil is just ordinary soil added with artificial fertilizers and some chemical treatments to minimize insects, bugs, and plant diseases.


Sandy Soil

Succulents growing in a sandy soil.

  • Sandy soil is light, warm, dry, acidic, and low in nutrients.
  • Quick water drainage
  • Quicker to warm up in spring
  • Tend to dry out in summer
  • Suitable for plants like succulents.

Which Soil Is Best For My Plants?

Organic lettuce garden

Understanding what your plant needs will help you decide what type of soil is best for your plants. Soil rich in nitrogen is best for vegetables like tomatoes, while sandy and clayey soil are best for succulents.

Most types of potting mix sold in the garden centers have a list of the soil compositions and some recommendations. It will help you decide what variety of soil is most suitable for the plants you’re growing.

Using ordinary soil dug from your garden can be full of weed seeds, and debris that could contaminate your new plants.

Always try to use fresh soil every year to prevent the spread of plant diseases to your new plants, and therefore avoid making your most awaited harvest turn into a disaster.


Pros and Cons of Using Organic Soil vs. Non-Organic Soil


Gardening Using Organic Soil

Organic soil used in the garden
Image by: gardenguides.com

Pros: 

  • It makes water accessible for the roots of your plants.
  • Enables air and water through the soil.
  • It helps improve moisture retention.
  • Enable plants to absorb nutrients effortlessly.
  • Vegetables in your garden taste better and more nutritious.
  • It helps loosen the compaction of dense soil.
  • Increases nutrient retention by collecting the nutrients eroded from the roots.
  • Less harmful to pets, humans, as well as to the environment.
  • Organic produce carries fewer pesticide residues.
  • Gardening is usually cheaper. (you can create your compost from your kitchen waste)

 Cons:

  • It doesn’t contain primary nutrients like nitrogen, phosphorus, or potassium.
  • There is a constant fight against perennial weeds.
  • The plants take longer to grow, so you need to be extra patient to enjoy the outcomes.

Gardening Using Conventional Soil

Woman spraying pesticides into the field to prevent potential pests and plant diseases.
Image by: David Stanley

Pros:

  • Chemical products are readily available at multiple forms like pellets, granules, liquid, tablets, spikes, and more at all garden centers to suit your preference.
  • It gives immediate outcome and improved crop yields. Usually, the results are seen in a week or two if the used treatment is appropriate for the season.
  • Enjoy the benefits of easy application, as the compositions and directions to proper use are usually displayed on the bag. Suitable for the greater use of pests, weeds, and disease control.
  • Conventional gardening is a practical aid to no-till methods.

Cons:

  • Involves the use of chemical products and synthetic fertilizers that can be harmful to people, pets, and the environment.
  • Gardeners are exposed to chemicals during the application.
  • Chemicals linger in the soil and drain the soil nutrients.
  • Pesticide residue in the product is harmful to human health in the long run.
  • Some non-organic fertilizers derive from toxic mining. Chemical nitrogen stimulates the growth of microorganisms, but it will exhaust and drain the soil when you perform the cycle regularly.
  • Overuse may lead to overflow or get blown by the wind to another area causing danger to plants, pets, and humans in the broader view.
  • Non-organic chemicals like pesticides, herbicides, and fungicides derive from carbon-intensive and energy. Chemical treatment remains in the soil and depletes the soil nutrients.
  • Needs extra care to dispose of properly.
  • It contributes to the loss of soil moisture that may lead to water and wind erosion.

Considerations of Both Soils

Organic soil used in a bed garden.

The outcome of your planting depends on the climate, soil type, and soil management. However, the application of organic material into the soil also matters to determine its turn over.

Poor soil management lessens its natural benefits. The only way to alleviate future food demands is to improve soil management practices.

Many scientific studies are trying to determine the relative value of organic versus non-organic soil. After considering both aspects of the soil, research indicates that organic soil is found to produce higher quality and better-tasting food than ordinary soil.


Final Thoughts

There you have it! This information will surely be useful to whichever approach you would like to take in your gardening.

If there are any suggestions you have in mind that you would like us to add, please don’t hesitate to write it down in the comment section below. We’re excited to hear them.

About Benita Abucejo

Hi there! My name is Benita Abucejo. What can I say? I truly love spending my days in the outdoors, specifically in the garden. Gardening has always been a strong passion of mine since I was a little girl. It has brought me so much joy and happiness that it is definitely safe to say that I will be a gardener for life. For a period of time, I was able to work with people who are into home gardening and I found it to be quite beneficial to my physical health, as well as my mental well-being. Here at Seasonal Preferences, I am going to share with you my experience and ideas so that you can fulfill yourself with the same satisfaction and happiness. Of course, if you have ideas, I would love to hear those as well! Being creative in the garden can really be quite fascinating so let's share our experiences and be the best gardeners we can be. With that being said, thank you for dropping by and please leave me a comment on one of my posts if you would like to get in touch!

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